This week we have a chance to get back into the winners’ circle after being highly competitive last weekend but narrowly being defeated by Darebin in cold and wet conditions. We played an exceptional first half and almost put the game to bed at the start of the second half but unfortunately, we allowed Darebin back in at the end of the third quarter and to their credit, they took their opportunities and played smart stoppage footy in the final quarter to hold on.
For the first time this year, the ThunderW team will play in Alice Springs for what’s our final home game for the 2019 season. All players and staff are looking forward to playing in Central Australia as we are eager to put on a show in front of local family and friends. This game is a real highlight in the VFLW calendar as it sets up an exciting weekend of footy with the Redtails vs Top End Storm and big AFL game the next day.
After being struck with injury a few weeks back, we welcome in a number of key players including Katie Streader, Lisa Roberts, Charlie Deegan and Alice Springs local Ebony Miller. I know our Alice Springs contingent in Jordy Hickey, Caitlin Couch and Michelle Ellis are chomping at the bit to get out onto TIO Traeger Park today to perform in front of their supporters.
I am also excited to announce that Alice Springs youngster Shoneeka Abbott and Alice Springs product Celina Whan, will make their highly anticipated debut, along with lively forward Tayla Hart-Aluni, who has earned the call up after performing exceptionally well at the Under 18 Championships last week.
I was lucky enough to coach the Central Allies at the national champs last week, and I can tell you that the team was littered with talent, including our eight players hailing from the Territory. This was a week of firsts, including our first-ever win since the Central Allies concept was born last year and beating host state Queensland by one point on the final day.
In game one we were too strong for the Eastern Allies as Tayla Hart-Aluni took some quality overhead marks and kicked truly to contribute well, along with Shoneeka Abbott’s hard tackles in defence and Steph Williams wowing onlookers with her blistering speed and sidestep. In game two we faced a very strong WA outfit and although we were highly competitive we could not kick straight in the second half and ending up going down by 22 points. Game three was hotly tipped as the game of the round as we faced Queensland. Thunder’s Mattea Breed started the game off with a bang, kicking two goals early to put us in a great position leading into half time. Off the back of that, Steph Williams shifted up a gear and proved to be a handful in the forward line kicking two exciting goals and going on to win the Player of the Match as voted by her peers. Alysha Healy, who also plays for Thunder today, was exceptional out on the wing and provided plenty of run and carry, she regularly hit up targets to get the ball moving forward into our attacking half. Bella Clarke and Shantel Miskin-Ripia were often seen mopping up loose balls and rebounding out of our defensive 50. Our efforts were rewarded with a very memorable victory to top off a successful Central Allies campaign.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with our future NT stars and I look forward to seeing their skills develop further in the VFLW program this week and into the future.